Have you ever noticed that some children seem to be more prone to tooth decay than other children? Maybe some of those children are yours or you have parent friends who vent about how their kids always seem to have cavities. If you’ve thought that some kids seem more susceptible, you’re right, and there are a few reasons behind that phenomenon.
Sometimes being cavity-prone is simply a matter of genetics. Your genetic code influences your enamel structure. If your genetics result in a weaker enamel structure, your teeth will be more cavity-prone. That genetic code can be passed onto your children, who will then also be more likely to develop cavities. Genetics can also influence the shape of the teeth. If teeth are abnormally sized, shaped, or aligned, they will be harder to clean and therefore more likely to develop cavities.
Children are born without cavity-causing bacteria in their mouths. That bacteria is introduced to them after birth, usually by their family. Behaviors that are likely to spread cavity-causing bacteria include kissing babies on their mouths, using your mouth to clean their pacifier, or sharing utensils with them. Letting them use your toothbrush can also spread harmful bacteria. If you have cavities and engage in any of these behaviors, you are more likely to spread the bacteria to your children.
Diet and Hydration
It’s no secret that children love candy, soda, and other foods or drinks that are considered unhealthy for teeth. Given the choice, most would prefer to drink juice instead of water. As the parent, it’s up to you to provide your children with foods and drinks that will help their teeth be strong and healthy. Offer them things like fibrous fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and plenty of water. Water is especially important. Staying hydrated makes it possible to produce good amounts of saliva which can help rinse food particles off the teeth, protecting them from decay.
While some of the reasons behind cavity susceptibility (like genetics) aren’t anything you can control, you have more influence over other things like diet, hydration, brushing, and flossing. Take a look at your children’s habits and see where improvements can be made. Talk to their dentist if you have questions about things you can do to protect your children’s teeth from cavities.
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